I had the chance to finally try out Qatar Airways’ 5-star service when I flew the country’s flag carrier to the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting in Doha (read my story about the AGM here). Regular readers know I got to sample the product during a special event at Washington Dulles back in September, #DiningWithAltitude. So below are 10 things I really enjoyed about my flight.
1. The flight attendants. After flying on U.S. carriers for so long, you get used to a certain level of service. But the flight attendants on Qatar take it to another level, with their politeness and need to be sure that you’re enjoying your flight.
2. The food. This was not your mother’s airline food. There were enough choices for you to eat until you burst, or go lighter. My favorites were: the cheese plate; the Arabian mezze of hummus, tabouleh and muhammara; the roasted chicken and mashed potatoes; and the roasted tomato soup.
3. The beverages. I won’t lie; I like champagne. Qatar had a lovely pink one from Tattingers. I also enjoyed their choice of still or sparking water, the compartment in the seat to hold bottled water, and the great assortment of teas. There was also a full complement of premium liquor.
5. The lavatory. I admit it – I have a thing about using public restrooms in general (I travel with a can of Lysol in my purse) and airline lavs in particular. But the ones on Qatar were amazing. I have to think that one of the flight crew went in and cleaned regularly, because every time I used it, it was spotless.
6. The inflight entertainment. As the mother of an 8-year-old, I don’t get to see grown-up movies very often. So I always appreciate airlines that have a full selection of movies and television programs. And when I wanted to sleep, I switched over to the jazz audio station. The noise-canceling headphones were wonderful. I also caught up with some old episodes of “Frasier,” which reminded me of how much I always enjoyed the show.
7. The outlets. My seat had an outlet for my computer and a USB port to charge my iPhone. What’s not to love?
8. The arrivals lounge. After arriving in Doha, we went to a lounge where we could sit and have something to drink and eat while we were processed through Customs. I spent one minute having my photo taken and iris scanned, and that was it.
9. The departures lounge. Well, since Hamid International Airport was only a week old when I departed, the first and business class lounges were not ready. Not only did I receive a letter of apology, but I received a $100 voucher for the duty-free store.
10. Hamad International Airport. The airport had been open less than a week when I departed. But it was done enough to see how grand it was, with amenities including free Mac computer stations, robust free WiFi, napping rooms and great play areas for kids.